Friday, November 30, 2012

Return of the Liberals? Forum Ont. Poll: 35% PC, 29% OLP, 27% NDP

Forum Research is out with their monthly Ontario poll, detailing a bounce in the beleaguered Ontario Liberal's fortunes and an apparent drop in the New Democrat's, at least compared to the last Forum poll.

Forum Research (Ontario - November 27th-28th, 2012)
Prog. Conservative: 35% (-2%) - 55 seats (-9 seats)
New Democratic: 27% (-5%) - 27 seats (-10 seats)
Ont. Liberal Party: 29% (+7%) - 25 seats (+19 seats)
Green Party: 8% (+1%)

While the Liberals move ahead of the NDP in the topline numbers (though within the margin of error), they don't manage to pick up more seats than Andrea Horwath's party. The reason is simply because of how high the NDP are in what Forum calls "Southwestern Ontario," sitting at 31% to the PC's 36%, and the Liberals far back at 23%. That gives the NDP 8 seats to the Liberal's 2, whereas in 2011 it was 3-7.

In the GTA, the PCs lead with 37% to the Liberal's 31% and the NDP's 26%. Toronto proper has a Liberal lead of 36% to the PC's 31%, while the surrounding 905 has a huge PC lead of 41% to the Liberal's 28%. In eastern Ontario, the PCs lead with 37% to the Liberal's 31%.

The only off result is the 15% the Greens earn in Northern Ontario, but that is most probably down to a small sample size. As you can see above, the map is mostly blue - but the Liberals, at least if this poll is to be believed, are attempting a comeback.

Why would that be? It isn't as if McGuinty's government has received better press over the last month, nor has the NDP - who dropped the most - had any bad press. I would pin it down to the leadership race as well, but I haven't seen that gathering much press either. One hypothesis I have is that with McGuinty gone, that elastic support that fled during McGuinty's last tenure has decided to maybe give us another chance, under another leader. This falls in line with what I generally believed about the Ontario Liberals - voters do like the brand, but the leader irked them. Now that leader is practically gone, and some people who were "anti-McGuinty" only may be coming back. But, that's only an idea.

In leadership news, Forum has given Gerard Kennedy "front-runner status," among both the wider population and Liberal supporters. This, mind you, was among people who had opinions. Focusing upon Liberals for a second....

Kennedy has a strong "lead" among Liberals, though one has to remember that just because he is the most popular candidate, doesn't mean he'll actually win - delegated conventions will do that to you. Even so, it is a good guide to see who is in the "top tier," that obviously being Kennedy, Pupatello, and Wynne. Whether Kennedy is leading thanks to name recognition, or his politics, or a combination there of, I'm not sure - though I will say that the only "policy" part of the above poll, the Economic Plan question, shows the race is much closer.

The more interesting breakdown in my opinion though is farther down the list, which breaks down the leadership candidate's numbers by region (and including decideds), again among Liberal supporters.

While "none of these" or "don't know" leads in every region, you can kind of see where the support for the top three is. Kennedy "leads" in the GTA (best in the outer 905 region), while Pupatello leads in Eastern and Southwestern Ontario. Wynne has her best support in the GTA (Toronto specifically), and Northern Ontario. It makes a tonne of sense - Pupatello is the only "non-Toronto" candidate, while Kennedy and Wynne are both from the city itself. We'll see a big divide come January, I think.

It makes it hard for someone like me, who lives on the cusp of Toronto, but is so far away from it that sometimes we're not even included as part of the GTA. Who would be best for my kind of riding? Hm.

One of the things that may hurt Kennedy and Pupatello though - apparently 60% of Liberal respondents think having a seat in the legislature is "Very Important," boosted by another 25% who think its "Somewhat Important." I wonder how that will play out.

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